RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A Richmond Public Schools teacher was surprised Wednesday morning with a $25,000 award.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Secretary of Education Dietra Trent, Board of Education President Dan Gecker and board member Anne Holton were on hand at Lucille M. Brown Middle School to give Ryan James the $25,000 Milken Educator Award during an assembly.
James, a James Madison University graduate, has been an eighth grade history/social studies teacher for five years. He is also the school's football coach and boys' basketball assistant coach.
Nearly 80 percent of his students passed the Civics Standard of Learning test this past year, an increase of 5 points from the previous year.
"I congratulate Ryan James and the entire Lucille Brown Middle School community for earning this well-deserved honor from the Milken Family Foundation," McAuliffe said.
The Milken Educator Awards program recognizes and rewards teachers, principals and other public school educators who promote excellence and innovation. James is the 44th Virginia educator to receive the award since 1999.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Steven R. Staples says James is well known for making sure students understand their rights.
"He challenges his students every day to do their best and never give up, whether in the classroom or on the football field," said Staples.
"Mr. James is the epitome of what this prestigious award represents," said Richmond Public Schools' Interim Superintendent Thomas Kranz. "It takes a truly innovative educator to engage our students in the classroom, and he could not be more deserving of this recognition."
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